How do I decide which game to buy?



Over the years, having played many small and big board games, I have formed personal preferences about which games I buy. I will break down the process in a step-by-step manner which will also hopefully help you out.

1 – Find out what type of gamer you. Do you like to play longer duration games which typically play for more than 1 hour or would you rather play shorter duration games which last for less than an hour – typically 30-45 minutes. I prefer shorter games.

2 – What is the the price you are ready to pay for the game? There are games that cost as less as FREE (for print n play) games or as much as hundreds of dollars over time (like Magic – the gathering). The usual correlation is that shorter games cost less and longer, more involved games cost more – but that need not always be true. I do not like to spend more than an equivalent of $20 on a game (and $10 for card games) unless it is really really interesting and I WANT it badly. I will then stretch a little bit. When I was a kid, I badly wanted the Game of Life because my cousin had it and it was so damn interesting for a 12 year old…I bought it at the age of 32 just to satisfy my itch!

3 – Do you like to take your games to places – like family gatherings or picnics or do you prefer playing them at your home? This has a number of factors getting affected – the physical size, number of players and nature of games.

3a – Games vary in size – from as small as a pack cards which can be slipped in to your pocket and easy to store (and lose) to as large so as to render them difficult to transport. There are of course even games which don’t need any hardware, but let’s set them aside for now. I like my games to be portable and easy to store, easy to transport – naturally because I have lived in comparatively smaller homes.

3b – Some games can be played solo and some games may need even minimum of 5-8 players to play effectively. I typically tend to steer towards smaller player count games with just a couple of large player count ones.

3c – Some games involve a lot of fun, shouting, teasing and provocation like party games and some require deep thought. As for me, it depends on the situation. I like both types.

4 – Setup. Some games involve intricate setup that may be difficult to follow initially, while some games are a snap to setup. Always like shorter, quicker setup games which get me started faster.

5. Replay ability – Some games are knowledge based and lose their replay ability once players learn the answers. A game should be re-playable no matter what. With that in mind, I designed a math game a few years ago, which still remained fun even after learning the principles – it became even more enjoyable once you knew the principles.

Once you know your like and dislike, analyze all games you like with these lenses and narrow down to the one you want to buy. Do not go by just the reviews and descriptions. Also watch the game play videos available on the game website or on youtube which has play videos for thousands of games on it.

Do let me know what you think about this method and if it helped you pick the right games for you!